What Distance Does Each Golf Club Hit?
Golf bags contain a lot of clubs and it can be intimidating to choose the right club to use if you are a beginner. Each club is designed for a designated purpose and type of shot and learning the correct golf club for each situation can make your game better, and more importantly, your score lower.
Although each club has a specific use, more commonly it is the total distance that can be achieved using a particular club which is used to determine which one to use for any single shot. Let’s take a look at how golf club distances compare, and one or two other factors which can determine how far your golf ball will travel.
Factors That Affect Golf Club Distances
Given that there are at least a dozen clubs in a golf bag, and each golfer’s range of ability and hitting distance is unique, when the question, when it comes to determining the average hitting distance of each golf club, it is nearly impossible to give a specific answer.
Several factors influence the total distance achieved using a golf club. The most important are the loft angle, carry distance, swing speed, and in many cases, the weather conditions. The loft is the unique angle of the face of a club, and the higher the angle, the steeper the ball be lifted using that club. A long-distance driver has a small 8-12 degree angle whereas a pitching wedge is designed with a 48-53 degree loft angle.
The carry distance or yardage of a club is the distance between the point of impact on the ball to the point of its landing, and an average of these distances, both for men and women, can be found in various golf books or charts.
The swing speed, which is quite self-explanatory, is the velocity at which the club face hits the ball. Once the club is chosen, the carry distance and the swing speed are two major interlinked factors that determine how far a ball can be hit using it.
Last but not least, the weather conditions, especially the wind speed, highly influence the distance a golf ball travels.
The Role of Physical Strength
Golf clubs are, in the end, driven by the muscles of your body. If all other factors are equal, it is logical to conclude that the speed and distance of a golf ball that you can achieve will ultimately come down to the physical strength in your muscles. The shoulder, core, hip, and thigh are the strongest muscles that play a role in swinging a club. These directly influence the club speed and in turn the distance you can hit with each golf club.
When talking about physical strength, your height and gender can also play a role in the game of golf. Tall people can generally hit longer distances than short people. Also, as men generally have higher average physical strength than women, they can usually hit longer shots, and this is one reason why golf tournaments are usually gender-specific.
Distances Expected From Woods
Woods are a type of golf club that were originally made from wood for long-distance shots. They are now made from different metals, but the name has stuck for clubs which have the longest shafts and largest heads out of all clubs. Woods are used to achieve the maximum ball speed and distance. They are preferred by golfers for their first shots from the tee and also on the fairway on longer holes.
It is difficult to account for all factors and assign average distances you can expect from any type of golf club, but it has been done through years of data and experimentation. Some charts try to do this and according to them, an average player can be expected to hit between 200 and 240 yards with woods, with a beginner doing well to hit 150 yards with the same club. A professional can go as long as 300 yards, with the record distance in tournament play achieved by the late Mike Austin who hit a 515 yard drive in 1974.
Distances Expected From Irons
Irons were originally made from forged iron and have retained the name ever since. They are made from cast steel these days and recently graphite irons have become popular among professional golfers due to their ultra-light weight. Irons are the preferred choice when striking the ball from the fairway towards the greens, although they are often used off the tee too.
Irons are typically numbered from 1 to 9. Higher numbers have shorter shafts, higher loft angles, and heavier heads. Looking at approximate distances, a beginner can be expected to hit 75 to 90 yards with a 9 iron. An average player would usually get around 125 yards and an expert can go up to 150 yards with the same club. As you go down towards the 1 iron from the 9 iron, these distances gradually increase due to the decreased loft angle of the trajectory.
Distances Expected From Hybrids
Hybrids are a cross between woods and irons to benefit from the best qualities of both types of clubs. They were initially used to get out of the rough, including heavy grass and bushes as well as other obstacles around the fairway and the green. However, they have evolved, and many golfers now prefer hybrids over woods or irons for fairway shots due to their favorable balance. With hybrids, you can expect similar shots to what you can hit with irons of up to number 5.
If you are going to use hybrids as a replacement for irons, you can expect 5 to 8 yards more distance with a hybrid than the number of iron club you intend to replace. If you get 140 yards with a 3 iron, you can get more than 145 with a 3 hybrid. This serves as a good estimation to compare hybrids with other types of golf clubs.
Know Your Own Golf Club Distances
As we discussed, the distances achievable by a golf club depend on several factors. One player’s 7 iron distance could be another player’s 3 iron distance. Thus, it is important to know that there is no prescribed distance for a golf club but a unique distance for each person, so aids like golf club distance cheat sheets should be used only as a guide.
You should be aware that you can access a free golf club distance calculator on the internet that helps you determine the approximate distance you can expect from each club in your bag. You will also learn more about your individual style and whether you are a long or short hitter by playing more and comparing your distances with other players, and against your previous rounds of golf.